Two American soldiers in Afghanistan left their compound, got in a four-wheeled vehicle and headed for a local town. No one is clear as to why they left, why they went to the town or even, exactly what next occurred. A policeman in Charkh district said he tried waving them down in order to give warning they were entering a dangerous area, but they drove right past him. They apparently halted in the bazaar area, were seen by the Taliban, but not attacked. The Taliban most probably did not wish to initiate a fire fight in a crowded bazaar and let the vehicle proceed. Shortly after, another Taliban group tried waving them down, gun fire was exchanged, at least one American was killed, and, most probably, the other taken prisoner. They took a wrong turn, they left a secure area, they did not reach a secure area, and now one is dead and the other a prisoner.
Isn’t this story, a parable about American policy in Afghanistan. We have been taking the wrong turn, not once, but numerous times. We left the secure area in 2001 when Afghanistan was finally freed of the Taliban, ignored warnings, and kept on going down wrong roads. Wasn’t it clear in 2001 that Afghanistan needed an honest effective government? Wasn’t it clear in 2001 that Afghanistan desperately needed an effective armed force? Bush and his buddies ignored one wrong warning after another and the result is the debacle of Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama has also gone down wrong roads by ignoring every warning not to proceed on the path of “more soldiers.” It is time to get on the right road, the one that leads out of Afghanistan.